Operating as a top-level accountant takes an impressive mixture of skills. Sure, you need to have the right accounting background. But you also need to complement this with an array of other competencies, ranging from communication abilities to tech-savviness. Employers are looking for multi-talented, multi-tasking super-accountants. Your job: convince them that you are one. Your best chance to do this comes in the interview stage.
Be ready for the nuanced questions interviewers will level at you to figure out your mix of abilities. Don’t be nervous, though. You should relish these opportunities, eager to display the breadth of your skillset. Here are the factors you should expect at your next accounting interview:
Focusing the Interview
You only get a short period of time to meet with a potential employer. Don’t waste time on irrelevancies or by detailing information they can gather elsewhere. Prepare to steer the conversation to your best traits. Here are a few mistakes to avoid during your interview:
Don’t Go Into Detail About Your Certifications
Your resume will contain most of the basic professional information potential employers will need to determine whether you have the appropriate background for their organization. If they want a list of certifications, they simply look there. Of course, if your interviewer asks for this info, give them a complete list. However, be ready to pivot to less obvious information. Your goal should be to move beyond your resume and turn the conversation to the skills that set you apart.
Don’t Waste Interview Time Discussing Basic Accounting Knowledge
Of course, you have to fulfill the basic requirements of an accounting position. As such, employers might require a follow-up practical test to determine your competency. For an interview, though, don’t expect these types of quizzes. Some employers might throw some practical questions at you, to get a feel for your underlying accounting chops. However, if they don’t bring it up, don’t make it central to your pitch. Again, you should seek to move beyond the minimum requirements of the job.
Don’t Forget to Go Beyond Accounting
Your interview will generally focus on accounting-related questions. However, these topics shouldn’t monopolize the discussion. You also want to get to make a personal connection with your interviewers. You want to show them that you fit into their culture and that you have other traits that you bring to the table. Be prepared for these types of questions as well.
Preparing for Common Accounting Interview Questions
As we’ve covered so far, your general goals should be to move beyond your qualifications and bring some personality to the interview. However, you should also prepare for some specific questions. Here are a few examples of common queries to keep in mind:
What made you want to become an accountant?
Employers want to understand your motivations. This question gets at that dynamic. Through this question, your interviewers will get a better grasp of your relationship to accounting and what you are trying to accomplish with your career.
What advice would you give someone trying to explain accounting details to a non-financial audience?
Communication is pivotal in any team endeavor. The process often gets more complicated for accountants. You frequently have to explain intricate financial information to stakeholders who don’t have a formal accounting background. To succeed, you should be able to summarize this information effectively, even for a non-financial audience. This question opens up a discussion of this topic and allows you to highlight your communication skills.
Explain your process for staying current on new accounting regulations.
The world of accounting keeps changing. Governments periodically update regulations or change the laws entirely. You want to show you can keep up with evolving circumstances. This question lets you discuss your commitment to staying up-to-date, and gives a glimpse into your process. What steps should you take after your interview is complete? Read these tips on how to follow up.
Find the Right Accounting Job for You
Ready to find best employer for your multi-faceted accounting talents? By partnering with an experienced recruiter, like Qualified Staffing, you ensure that you find the right fit for you.
Contact Qualified Staffing today to get placed in the right accounting team for your skills and background.